In Sickness And In Health

When we walked the aisle on that very day we professed the ultimate commitment of our love for one another we made a promise. It was the sweetest, it was binding, it was the bravest vow any couple would ever make. Until death do us part, right?

Then life goes go one after the fanfare. Life as a couple, ideal it seems at that time, moves forward. We’re now husband and wife, ready to face the world. Then we’d have kids, the family grows from just two to more. Married life is bliss. Our love holds for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse…

But sometimes life would test further. Life would soon remind us the boldest commitment we’ve ever made, those romantic promise, likely in our then absent-minded state. In sickness and in health we’d later realize would be our mantra as we face head on the toughest of the toughest trials that would come our way.

Fact is, true love is easier said than done. It is skin-deep if it exists just for fun and in good times. For all we know, true love isn’t a party for it goes beyond looks and sex and marriage vows. It is anything but true love if it doesn’t survive ‘in sickness and in health.’ True love is an adventure, it’s a journey. Hair-raising but rewarding journey. Again, that is if we survive it, if we don’t give up midway.

This is why I admire married couples, more so the elderlies, I see in hospitals. These guys beat lovers in the malls anytime. I envy those who persevere, who try their best to make their balding cancer-stricken spouse smile; those who wheel in day after day their immobile husband to complete another challenging physical therapy; those who hold hands until their partner’s last breath. That, to me, is true love.

If I have my way, however, I do not wish to see the day I’d have to prove myself, to walk the talk, to prove true and deeper love. But when that day comes I wish and pray I’d be the strong person than I am today. “In sickness and in health…’til death do us part.”

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Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Words inspired by this recent week’s event.)

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Getting Used to Fancy Cinema Seats

When Marcus was smaller he almost got stuck in a cinema seat when the foldable chair tilted back in place. Since then he would hesitate to be seated alone for fear of falling in the gap once more. So it did come as a surprise when he immediately loved the first time he experienced watching a movie in a stable and comfy recliner seat. It was back in 2016 in California. It was a Star Wars film.

With our recent preference to avoid Alabang traffic we discovered that Cinema 3 of Solenad in Nuvali also offers such luxurious seats. For P400+ (approx USD7) per person it’s a win-win regardless if I like the movie or not. The recliners make comfy beds when boredom or effect of graveyard shift takes over.

Uptown Mall’s ultra cinema knows how to spoil a kid.

Two days ago we found a better movie deal. Uptown Mall in BGC has what they call ultra cinema which likewise offers recliner seats except that for almost the same price tickets already include refillable snacks of soda and popcorn. Take note, refillable. Soda. Popcorn. Besides the regular buttons to control the seat’s positions, there’s a summon button for the attendant when snacks run out. Thankfully that didn’t happen and our Incredibles 2 started and ended without interruption. Sort of.

Coming out of a short nap, thanks to the spicy Scott PNC burger and the free cheese popcorn and 500ml Coke, I had to excuse myself for a pee break. But what did I miss? None. Not only that the cinema’s toilet is clean, it also has speakers that play clearly the movie’s audio. I could have stayed longer in there and wouldn’t have missed any except watching Mr. Incredible play regular parent for the most part of the movie. This is how all cinemas should be like.

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New rings after 19 years.

We stayed for three days and two nights in F1 Hotel Manila, BGC to celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary. The hotel was average and our room is similar to what we had in A Venue Hotel wherein there’s a separate room from the suite’s receiving area.

It’s not an issue that the bathroom didn’t have a tub but it took time for housekeeping to provide a chair for Marcus to use while taking a shower. So his first shower was done seated on the floor. Lesson learned for us: bring our own monobloc chair next time.

The hotel has three pools but the lap pool was under maintenance. Two options left weren’t really good and pool area was quite tight considering Marcus has a wheelchair.

A couple of treadmills in the gym were also down. Towels aren’t readily available unlike in Acacia Hotel. I had good sessions though and what kept me going back was what I like the most in this hotel.

What the hotel lacks in its room and service, it makes up for in its breakfast buffet. F1 Hotel Manila serves remarkable food. I liked everything I had on my plate–veggie curry, Frankfurter, omelette, tortang giniling, Danish, pancakes, etc. My MyFitnessPal app recorded about 1000 calories alone for each free breakfast which was more than enough to fuel my treadmill runs and weight training. FYI, I returned home with just three pounds more.

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It rained hard so we sought shelter and learned we can afford Denny’s.

The hotel didn’t stop us from enjoying wedding anniversary though. We tried new things like our first Grab car ride and we discovered that we can afford Denny’s. It was also nice to set aside my phone for most of the day while I give more attention to Marcus, watched cable TV movies with him and listen to his perfect impression of his mommy sleeping. Trust me, he nailed it. Good times.

Glad we grabbed a Grab.

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Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Uneventful return to reality.)

Funny Love

It’s the time of the year again when the color red is all over. It’s Valentines week plus it’s Chinese New Year. Prices of flowers once again doubled, overpriced chocolates flood the shelves, couples here and there, and singles in despair. Love is in the air. (Did it rhyme?)

But how long does love last? How long does displaying affection in public remain appealing for lovers? How soon before all this romance start to wane off? Would this ‘heat of the moment’ gradually end when marriage starts? The fact is, the answer may be yes.

There is a saying that if love is blind, marriage is the eye opener. True? Time will come when couples snap out of their fantasies. Like it or not, marriage comes in a package, annoying individual traits and tough challenges included–kids for one. ‘And they lived happily ever after’ just so belong in fairy tales.

This doesn’t mean, however, that marriage is a trap. It may be a point of no return but not entirely likened to a deadly quicksand or I won’t even write this post and expect to survive a day more. Perseverance and understanding considered, there’s something that could make wedded life a bliss. In any case, let humor be among it.

Blessed are couples who make each other laugh often. Marriage is serious stuff but it doesn’t have to be serious all the time. Being too serious is boring and when boredom strikes, it normally spells bad options and you know what happens next. That is why laughter is key. Being able to laugh out loud loosens tensions, opens door to communication and could very well help preserve marriage. After all didn’t they say that laughter is the best medicine?

Happy Valentine’s Day wifey. I love you…and your shallow jokes.

My wife was a clown in her past life.

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As always been the case since Marcus arrived, our Valentine’s day dates already include a kid tagging along. Our date, his agenda. This weekend was meant for Black Panther.

Black Panther stood up to the hype. One proof: I was awake during the entire long film, thanks in part to the venti Americano. Behind the action scenes, this movie is trying to tell us something deeper. I cannot recall watching in the big screen something that has so much subtle messages in one story like this latest Marvel film. (But take note I’m becoming Dory.)

Marcus’ Fallout 4 mod.

Unlike other superhero movies that are about fighting crimes and saving the world, Black Panther was more specific and relevant. It was about raising awareness that black minorities exist and that they are often oppressed whether they are in their own birthplace or in foreign soil. Whatever the reasons are, such oppression must come to an end especially for the sake of the young and innocent ones. I think our leaders could always do more. Sadly Vibranium is fiction and the misery of the black minorities is a fact.

Black Panther also delivers the premise that Hollywood isn’t all about good white guys all the time. I don’t know if there’s something political behind the story but Asians come next after the number of Wakandans and I think we could count the number of white guys who appeared in this film, Stan Lee included.

Then there’s the individuality aspect of the movie. There’s so much artifacts in Black Panther that address body shaming which continue to become more prevalent on social media. This superhero movie doesn’t only save the world but also seek acceptance of people with body piercings, lips with flat disc, erect nipples, and even backnes. To each his own. Now I feel like wearing sandals with my ugly toes exposed.

Our first Wing Stop visit and we love it.

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Mood: 1/10 Honks! (This is Sunday. Sunny and sleepy.)

17 and counting

Yesterday we added another tick mark to our married life. This time there’s no hotel accommodation, no buffet food, just the simplest we can ever think of. But simple as it may seem, it was still one that we would cherish as we made it happen almost against all odds. Marcus and I were recovering from colds and wifey just had a day after she gave the thumbs up that her lingering stomach pain settled down.

Now based in Batangas, and with budget in check, Alabang was our best bet. It wasn’t really the closest but it is the only place that would give us most options for a decent celebration which would satisfy everyone else’s idea of good day out. Its proximity to a church, malls and choices of resto were factors we considered.

We found ourselves under this giant chili.

Lunch was at Chili’s. We convinced Marcus who initially was thinking to be at the nearby Acacia Hotel and then take a quick dip at the pool. He loves the hotel so much that he can recognize it from his mom’s telenovela series—and even pictures on Facebook—and has been begging to return since we checked in last year. The word tacos made him agree to step into Chili’s though he soon discovered the tacos in real life do not appear how it does on his Roblox game and that it has some hint of cheese which is one thing he hates the most. Plus the song It’s Raining Tacos didn’t play in the background.

Mexican food for lunch.

A stroll to the mall was good enough to burn the calories we packed courtesy of Chili’s’ humongous burger, baked beans, tacos, and chicken and pasta. And just when we thought the remainder of our day would be all about window shopping, Kidzone offered us something new: a Virtual Reality adventure.

We were on SLEX before three in the afternoon as we do another attempt to hear mass for the day as we came in too early for the morning mass in Alabang. We decided not to get Marcus out of ATC to St. Jerome Church as the change from the cold mall to the noontime sun would be detrimental. But rain poured hard as entered Batangas and with such condition we cannot get Marcus out of the car to his wheelchair so we cancelled again. Anyway, we hope that God would understand, as always the case. May he grant us another wonderful year with all the three of us together to celebrate another milestone.

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It appears that we have to accept the fact that the way we celebrate our anniversary has changed over the years. The date for two is obviously over and the one who gets the gift now is neither of us. That’s parenting I guess.

17th anniversary stuff goes to…

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Mood: 1/10 Honks! (Happy anniversary to us!)

Christmas in Sickness and in Health

Do you still remember the time when you and the woman you so love held hands in front of the church altar and bravely, if not absentmindedly, uttered “…in sickness and in health…for better or for worse ‘til death do us part”? For us, it’s now close to 15 years and these words never have been really fully tested.

While our bodies have aged, with some wrinkles and loose flabs here and there, my wife and I have retained the feelings that have kept us together since our eyes met—‘twas the time when we were so young and carefree. These feelings continued until we finally marched down the carpeted aisle, looking forward to start a new life as husband and wife. And quite frankly, back then the “for worse…and in sickness…” part of our vows seems to be something that will never become a reality.

But perhaps as fate would have it, the days have come when we put our money where our mouth is. Today, when supposedly we worry only about how to spend the Christmas holiday, wifey undergoes a major surgical operation. And today, that chance to give Marcus a sibling stops.  Nevertheless, we will move on. I now just hope her operation will be successful so that we all stay together longer—the two of us with Marcus.

Oh, wait, wait, wait. I just remembered we also pledged “…for richer or for poorer…”  Ti abi.

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Comic strip above was inspired by a recent exchange with wifey when I gave her a 3-piece Ferrero Rocher. Yes, the humor is still there.

Get well soon wifey. We love you.

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Mood: 5/10 Honks! (Friday the 13th. And we are in a hospital.)